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Donations pour in to help Pearland woman and her son with autism

"From the bottom of my heart, I thank you," said Stephanie Philippi. "Your little act of kindness has been life-saving. I'll never be able to repay you."

PEARLAND, Texas — All of this time at home has really helped some of us separated what we want and what we actually need to get through each day. For Stephanie Philippi and her son, Jackson, one simple act of kindness is saving her family.

Jackson is 27 and has autism. His case is severe. He's non-verbal and has so much anxiety, he and his mom have stayed inside the family's Pearland home for the last three years. He's medically fragile and can only stand to have his mother around. She's his sole caregiver.

Philippi stays connected to the outside world through Instagram.

"He doesn’t watch TV, doesn’t play on the computer. And so, his only outlet is tearing this magazine, which I happened to stumble upon just out of luck one day," Stephanie said during an interview via video chat. 

The tearing of pages calms Jackson and it buys Stephanie time to shower or cook or make a phone call.

"And so the magazines literally save my life and save his at the same time," she said.

When the pandemic temporarily shutdown her neighborhood recycling center which provides pages for her son to rip, the dedicated mother turned to social media.

"I found the Nextdoor App. This is the first time I had ever decided to use it. And I made a post about needing magazines, desperately, for my son," she said.

So, as Jackson slowly ripped through his dwindling supply, Stephanie prayed that her neighbors would deliver.

Credit: Stephanie Philippi

"The compassion and faith in others is everything. It’s absolutely everything," Stephanie said. "They are really saving my life. It seems like a very small thing, but to an Autism mom, something this simple is life-saving. Truly."

She said she continues to receive magazine donations weeks after her initial post. She's left a note of gratitude on her neighborhood's Nextdoor page. She's even inked a message of thanks on the donation box for neighbors to read as they drop off magazines. And with KHOU's help, she now dedicates these words to her neighbors in Shadow Creek Ranch.

"From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. My days are incredibly challenging. Jackson’s days are incredibly challenging and your little act of kindness has been life-saving for both of us. So thank you so much. I’ll never be able to repay you," she said.

All this time at home has helped us separate our wants from our needs. And what some of us need to get through each day is a neighbor or two who cares.

This story was made possible by a tip through Nextdoor. To connect with KHOU Reporter Melissa Correa, make sure you subscribe to her page on Nextdoor. 

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